Colorado state Representative B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, this weekend said the experience of bigotry and intimidation she experienced last spring during the debate over a same-sex civil unions bill has strengthened her position in support of the bill. She said that, even though she’s not running for reelection and won’t be at the capitol to vote, she’s confident that conservatives will come to see the bill as consistent with their social values and that next year’s version of the bill will pass with significant Republican backing.
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As the special session of the Colorado legislature launches today centered around gay-rights civil unions legislation, national media outlets are circulating a memo written by a high-profile Republican pollster advising GOP candidates and operatives to embrace equal rights for LGBT Americans. The arguments made in the memo reflect arguments in favor of civil unions made over the past five months by conservatives in Colorado.
DENVER– “Let them vote! Let them vote!” chanted the crowd gathered on the west steps of the capitol here this morning, urging Republican House leaders to bring a controversial civil unions bill to the floor for consideration.
Conservative Rep. B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, voted to advance a state civil unions bill that would recognize same-sex partnerships last week in large part because she had come to believe the legislature, not the ballot box, was the best place to weigh civil rights questions.
In Colorado, organizing, infrastructure and fundraising within the Democratic Party and progressive organizations are the stuff of legend. The story of how liberal mega-millionaires and single-minded cooperation on the left turned this formerly solid red state to purple and blue have been told and retold for years. The story of coordination among conservatives groups, however, and the way millions of dollars each election cycle slosh to candidates and causes on the right has received relatively scant attention.
DENVER– At a state Senate committee hearing on a same-sex civil unions bill held here Wednesday, a series of witnesses battered Republican lawmakers opposed to the bill, suggesting they were confused in their ideology, nonstrategic in their thinking and enslaved to an outdated anti-gay “hateful bigoted mantra.” The harsh criticism came not from Democrats and their allies but from Republicans testifying in favor of the bill on the basis of conservative principles and out of partisan interest in the future success of the party.
Many Democrats are standing behind concerns raised by former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb last week after Webb said that Republican members of the Colorado Reapportionment Commission were playing it fast and loose with constitutional requirements when redrawing the state legislative boundaries.
As the head of Clear the Bench Colorado, firebrand Matt Arnold has toured conservative activist events across the state this past year asking Coloradans to vote against retaining members of the state’s supreme court. He argued and is arguing in the last weeks before the November elections that members of the bench are liberal activists who disdain the law. In recent days, an administrative courts judge and the elections director for the state informed Arnold that he failed to follow the laws that govern the form of political activity in which he has been engaging.